Scope of Technical Writing in the Modern World| 2021
With ever-changing technology and present circumstances, most jobs are moving online. One such field which wasn’t even there a few decades ago is technical writing. People are exploring this new opportunity but they don’t have any idea what to expect from it and where they should start. If you are one of them, read this article till the end as I will walk you through the career path and scope of technical writing.
The Purpose of Technical Writing
The first question that pops into our mind is: how technical writing is different from content writing? The answer is in the content that we need to work on in technical writing.
This job is to create specific content around a specific sector/ field (for example software manuals, medical news, product specifications, etc.) and communicate it efficiently to a specific audience. In easy words, you need to research and comprehend technical data and convert it into the simplest form for the end-users to understand it.
Think of it as a manual you get when you buy a new phone. It explains to you the basic functionality of the phone without getting deeper into the background. You being an end-user just needs to know which button to press to switch on the phone without delving into which circuits are forming and breaking when you press it.
Read about the Top 10 Technical Writing Courses in India
Education needed to be a Technical Writer
The scope of technical writing is vast but to get into that field, your educational qualifications are the first block that you need to take care of.
Technical writers are generally required to hold a bachelor’s degree. While some hold degrees which are applicable to a technical specialty, most hold a degree in journalism, English, communications, or a related field.
A Professional Certification in Technical Writing
To improve your chances of finding a good job, earning a professional certification is a must. The tools and knowledge you acquire in earning a certificate will multiply your chances of landing a better job. This can also give you an advantage over other candidates and can show you have proficiency in this field. Even if you have a specific degree, this certification can open doors faster.
Learn about the Fundamentals of Technical Writing
Making content visibly attractive
People respond better to visual content than text. Videos, images, and graphics can help in communicating information better. You need to learn different tools to create appealing visual content.
Create and edit multimedia content
Do you prefer reading blogs on something you want to know or do you go to youtube and search for a video based on it? Most of you must have done the latter. It’s a human tendency to understand the content better with the help of visual aids. So, if you are planning on being a technical writer, you need to know the basics of video and audio creation and editing to make your content more coherent and to attract more traffic.
Having programming/coding knowledge
If you are planning to write technical documents in the IT industry, make sure you know the basic coding and programming skills. Think of it this way: if you want to create high-quality content for software, you need to understand at least the basics behind it to even write such a document.
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To create detailed instructions for the viewers, you must be detailed and precise at every step.
If you want to explain people having no technical knowledge, you need to put yourself in their shoes and think about what and how much information you need to convey to them. That’s where imagination comes into the picture.
To create one document, you need to work with editors, graphic designers, illustrators, and technical people who made that product. So, this is a team effort, not a one-man job.
It goes without saying that you need to have good writing skills to explain information clearly without loops and gaps.
What Industries Need Technical Writers?
Being a technical writer means you can practically work in any industry. You can try yourself in different fields. Let’s explore the scope of technical writing in different industries.
A huge and growing industry has a variety of employment options for technical writers. Software documentation is part of every product lifecycle. One of the main things here to consider is that you need to have basic programming skills to write such documentation. You will be creating code examples for the documentation as a technical writer. You can also be helping in updating existing information about a product, video tutorials, FAQs, etc. This industry has a huge scope of technical writing and technical writers.
Ever thought of being an astronaut or pilot in childhood? Well, if you are still fascinated with this industry, this is your chance to become part of it.
If you are planning to become a technical writer in this field, be sure you know the basics of some tools used widely in this industry like AutoCAD, IsoDraw, etc. This will help you in making illustrations that are a big part of this job in the aerospace industry.
A field as broad as IT, medicine welcomes technical writing specialists. The scope of technical writing is as high as the sky in this field. If you become a technical writer in this field, you’ll have a special name: medical writers.
The responsibilities are totally different as compared to other fields. Here, technical writers write regulatory documents, scientific articles, technical documentation for equipment and software, white papers- a whole range of articles not seen in other fields.
Here, a lot of focus is on standards and regulations. This is especially true for pharmaceutical documents. In this sphere, having a degree in medicine or natural sciences is appreciated.
The scope of technical writing in the insurance sector is humungous. In fact, they have separate departments for editors and writers.
Knowing rules and regulations is critical in this sector as a small mistake can cost a company billions, especially in fields like investment banking and such high-end industries. If you want to be a technical writer in this sector, you can pick a course that can make you understand financial instruments used here in a better way.
Government has a huge market for technical writers. Since many government sectors are into making products or providing services to the public, they need technical writers for documentation.
The peculiarity of this field is- technical documents are created for a large audience. So, the main focus is language, and, again, majoring in languages or communication would be a clear advantage for working in this sphere. Since responsibility is high in this case, serious proofreading needs to take place.
Engineering and Manufacturing
It is a popular industry for technical writers. Although engineers can also write technical documents, they forget to alter them according to the understanding of the general audience and skip the part where all the technical stuff is simplified. That is why such industries employ a lot of technical writers to improve readability and communication with their readers.
To be successful in such industries, you need to have a deeper understanding of the described processes. So, apply to these industries only if you think you can work with subject matter experts on a regular basis.
The scope of technical writing will likely increase as more sectors switch from analog to digital. The continuing expansion of technical and scientific products and the growth of web-based product support will skyrocket employment demands for technical writers.
In India, the manufacturing sector is one that is rapidly progressing. With government policies promoting the same, the growth has been exponential. This is creating new job opportunities in this field. With the growing reliance on technology both at the workplace and at home, the scope of technical writing would be covering all fields and technical writers can have a bright future in this sector.
Also, check 14 Best Technical writing courses
Most technical writers have fixed working hours. Since they work with other professionals such as software developers, graphic designers, and testers, so this job is primarily office-based.
Although most companies employ technical writers directly to work full time with them, some freelance technical writers are paid per assignment. Freelancers are either self-employed or work with consulting firms to get assignments. The work environment and culture also depend on the organization and its rules.
Compensation of Technical Writers
This profession comes in high-paying jobs even for freshers. The increasing scope of technical writing had led to increase in pay scale. The average starting salary for a fresher is INR 30,000 per month. After that, the amount depends on a number of factors as in every other corporate job like experience, quality of your work, teamwork, etc. If you are certified or have any kind of external training, your salary will increase accordingly.
It depends on your interests. You can enter content development, user experience, product/project management, and so on.
It typically begins as a junior technical writer and goes to the position of a senior technical writer. With more experience, you can manage teams or become involved in related areas such as usability, customer experience, training, and so on.
Where you can find Jobs
- Zip Recruiter
- IT Career Finder
- 4 Corner Resources
- Career Builder
Professions related to Technical Writers
Since technical writers are required in almost every field, they have been given different names according to the sector they work in. This shows how vast is the scope of technical writing.
Editors plan, review, proofread content for publication on various channels both offline and online.
Interpreters and Translators
Interpreters interpret information in a different language and they mostly work in spoken or sign language whereas translators convert information from one language to another and they work in written languages.
Public relations and Fundraising Managers
Public relations managers manage the creation and issuing of content that can enhance the image of their employer or client in the public eye. Fundraising managers coordinate events and campaigns to bring donations to their organization.
Public relations Specialists
Public Relations Specialists have the same work as Public Relations Managers, but here they work for an organization instead of a single person. Their main work is to develop social media programs, create media releases, and shape the public insight of their organization, and increase awareness in the public’s eye.
Writers and Authors
Writers and Authors create the written content of various types for different types of media, including social media adverts, billboards, books, magazines, television, and so on.
Do check out Top 5 Technical Writing courses for Beginners
Alternate career options for Technical Writers
No doubt there is a lot of scope of technical writing out there but there comes a point of saturation, from where you need to expand your expertise. This is not the case of only technical writers, in fact, this is the scenario in almost all professions except politics because let’s face it: nothing is more dynamic and changing than politics and politicians.
A program manager manages more than one project. Its job is to govern and plan a program. He or she is also responsible for the successful completion of the outcome of the program.
The nature of the job is operational so the person must possess both knowledge of the product and managerial skills. Practical experiences also help in managing and understanding the program.
Skills required for a program manager are:
- Excellent leadership and managerial skills
- Good knowledge of the resource allocation process as he will be managing resources.
- He should be far-sighted as he has to assess risks and take calculative measures beforehand.
- He should have the basic knowledge of budgeting as he has to make the program cost-effective.
- He also needs to be aware of the tricks and techniques of project and program management.
Since there are so many skills required of a program manager, it is evident that the compensation should be at par with the expectations. The average salary of a program manager s INR 21 lakh per annum.
This is the most sought-after career that technical writers go for. As the name suggests, a business analyst is the one who scrutinizes the business and puts forward necessary changes to make it cost-effective.
Analyzing the business also means analysis of risk and after-effects of it. This makes the job of a business analyst of great authority and influence. They are also involved in the documentation process.
Skills required by a Business Analyst are:
- Verbal and written communication is of utmost importance for a Business Analyst. It helps them in convincing the stakeholders of the risks and to make necessary changes for the business to run effectively.
- He should be diplomatic and should know how to convince people.
- He should have a problem-solving approach and should have an analytical mind.
- He should have extensive knowledge of budgeting.
In India, the median salary of a Business Analyst is INR 8 lakh per annum.
UX designers are responsible to enhance the experience of the user. They observe the behavior of people by taking tests so that they can provide a better user- experience to a user.
To provide a better user experience, they should have knowledge of few tools such as Photoshop, Sketch, Illustrator, Invision, Fireworks, etc.
Skills of a UX designer:
- Researching is mandatory because it gives you the perception of users and ideas of how to make it better.
- A UX designer needs to look at the product from the eyes of a new user. It can greatly help in designing the product and help in making the product more user-centric.
- UX designer should know a bit of coding to design the map that he has in mind.
The average salary in this field is around INR 8.5 lakh per annum which is good enough for anyone to move in this field.
In conclusion, the scope of technical writing is humungous in the present as well as the future era. It’s up to you to take advantage of it and reap the most out of it.